Felix Egolf is a “hypermiler”. This is the name of the car tester who is on the road with the aim of achieving the lowest possible consumption and the highest possible range. The retired airline pilot “sails” over the roads by repeatedly taking his foot off the acceleration pedal and letting the car roll. This saves fuel – or in this case electricity.
For his latest challenge, he has chosen the all-electric ID.3 from Volkswagen: The record-hunter wants to explore the range limit of the electric car, with a journey from Germany to Switzerland of around 530 kilometers. To do so, he is traveling to Zwickau in Saxony. Many of the 90,000 inhabitants work at the Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH plant, where cars have been manufactured for more than 100 years, including the Trabant in the past. An ID.3 with the medium 58 kWh battery option is already waiting for the Swiss test driver behind the entrance gate. After a short introduction, the electric car is packed – with two suitcases plus complete photo and film equipment including a drone.
On the road with extra weight
According to the official vehicle specification, the ID.3 has a WLTP range of 420 kilometers with a fully charged battery. However, only the driver without luggage is assumed. But Felix Egolf, the cameraman and the equipment weigh almost 250 kilograms. But the experienced efficiency champion is not going to let that get in his way: He wants to prove that he can top the factory figures even with the additional weight.
The record journey starts the next morning shortly after 5 a.m. After the first hundred meters, it is already clear what distinguishes a hypermiler like Felix Egolf from other drivers: He is concentrated, energetic and very forward-looking – braking is avoided wherever possible to keep the car constantly moving. The average speed is 56 kilometers per hour. “The optimum would be to cover a third of the total distance without engine power,” he explains. His approach to roundabouts is particularly striking: Shortly before, he sets the automatic selector switch from “D” to “N”. The car practically flies towards its intended target, and the excess speed is gently reduced by means of recuperation – the recovery of energy by the engine braking. The chief attraction of the ID.3 is that it independently recognizes roundabouts and speed signs and slows down on its own.